Ibm expands blade runner strategy

Ibm expands blade runner strategy

IBM is looking to stretch the expansion of its blade server into the company's overall eServer strategy, just one year after shipping its first blade server.

It will roll out its first four-way blade server, the HS40, powered by Intel Corp.Xeon chips, this week. IBM will also announce the availability of its two-processor BladeCentre JS20 later in the year. This will be the first blade server to run IBM's 64-bit 1.6GHz PowerPC 970 chips.

This is a continuation of the company's blade run, which started a year ago, which saw it outpace Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell inc. in both shipments and revenue.

IBM is now considering storage, management software and switching options for BlaceCentre systems.

The technology will be used as a key tool in the company's infrastructure simplification initiative which started in October 2003. This links IBM's blade with its zSeries mainframes to reduce data centre complexity.

Susan Whitney, general manager of IBM's Intel-based eServer xSeries system can see a bright future for the blade strategy: "The customer is not saying: 'I want to buy a server'. The customers are saying they want to buy an infrastructure architecture... I can only see blade sales continuing to grow. The only question will be the slope of the growth."

The BladeCentre HS40, a four-way system powered by Intel's 2.8GHz Xeon MP chips, will offer 1MB of cache. Users will be able to fit seven of the servers into a 7U (12.25-inch) chassis, compared with the BL40p, which can fit only two of its blades.

Like the ProLiant, the BladeCenter chassis can hold both two and four-way Xeon-based systems. The PowerPC-based BladeCenter can also run Windows or Linux operating systems in the same chassis in the same way as the HP system.

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